"An extremely welcome arrival on the Jewish music scene" - Songlines
"Invigorating... Appealingly exotic"— The Jewish Week
"Enormously entertaining"— Jewcy.com
"A recording of unadorned beauty.”— Klezmershack.com
The Litvakus’ 2014 album RAYSN (read as rye-sn), the Music of Jewish Belarus, reveals the unknown face of Jewish and klezmer music and a different, Litvish, Yiddish. It tells a powerful story about the country where the Jews and the Litwins (the Belarusians’ pre-colonial ethnonym) had coexisted together for more than seven centuries and created an inimitable culture, separately and together. Litvakus’ new album RAYSN presents the rarely heard music from the two seriously endangered cultures, Yiddish/ Litvak and Belarusian.
As far as the klezmer recordings go, RAYSN sounds are very unexpected. It does take by surprise, but it also overpowers you by the warmth of the deeply rooted tradition. Bagpipe-like drones, drones on the fiddle and bass, shtetl disco feel, authentic and vibrant, come to life as this music had existed before being washed away by urbanization, Soviet and Nazi genocide, the decimation of the non-majority culture, emigration, assimilation, and a slew of other atrocities. Seven centuries of existence preserve this music its rightful place in the future, and Litvakus gives it a voice.
The album’s cover art is beautifully designed by Ilusha Tsinadze and illustrated with a rustic landscape, a 2006 painting by the prominent artist Boris Zaborov, the only living artist whose paintings were bought by the Uffizi Gallery.
Thank you for your support:
Center for Traditional Music and Dance and personally Peter Rushefsky and Ethel Raim
The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene and personally Zalmen Mlotek and Bryna Wasserman
The Workmen’s Circle / Der Arbeter Ring and personally Ann Toback
Synagogue for the Arts, New York
Zack Buchman, for helping us make the promotional video
Prof. Paul Geluso of New York University
Nina Rogov, in memory of her husband, actor David Rogow
Boris Zaborov, for donating the right to use his artwork
Cantor Jessica F. Epstein
...and many others who have supported the creation of this album through their generous donations, spreading the word, and all those little things without which this album would have less chances to become a reality.
This album is partially funded by the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations in New York (COJECO). The BluePrint Fellowship Project of COJECO is made possible through a grant by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.